Laguna Phuket’s Ironman 70.3 to Offer Qualifying Slots for Ironman World Championship in Kona
The Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship at Laguna Phuket has scored a major coup by securing 30 qualifying slots from the World Triathlon Corporation for its prestigious 2012 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Laguna is one of only three worldwide Ironman 70.3 triathlons offering 2012 Kona slots for winners of age group categories; and the only one in Asia-Pacific.
The legendary Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, contested each October on a lava landscape course considered one of the world’s toughest, is regarded as the “Holy Grail” of triathlons and its entry slots are coveted by triathletes worldwide.
The Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship on 4 December will be the first of the three Ironman 70.3 races offering 2012 Kona slots; the others are St.Croix in the US Virgin Islands on 6 May 2012 and Hawaii on 2 June 2012.
The Ironman 70.3 event will be the climax of a unique Tri-Fest on the Thai paradise island that begins with the Laguna Phuket Triathlon on 27 November followed by a week of triathlon-related training and social activities around the Laguna Phuket destination resort, including an Ironkids triathlon on 3 December.
“Securing 30 Kona slots is a real boost for us and underlines our integration into the worldwide community of prestige top tier triathlons, said Debbie Dionysius, Assistant Vice President of Destination Marketing for Laguna Phuket.
“These 30 Kona slots will be a major draw card for triathletes worldwide. We hope to attract more than 1,000 entries and see the cream of triathlon talent, both in the professional and age group fields, here at Laguna for what promises to be a spectacular race challenge and a unique triathlon festival,” she said.
Murphy Reinschreiber, Ironman/World Triathlon Corporation managing director Asia-Pacific, said: “The slots are being offered to ensure there are ample 2012 qualifying opportunities, given the current uncertainties of our 2012 full distance race schedule. Their availability is a one-off opportunity that is sure to generate enthusiasm in the worldwide triathlon community.”
The Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, originally a combination of the Waikiki Rough Water swim, the Around Oahu Bike Race and the Honolulu Marathon, is a full Ironman consisting of a 3.8 km swim, a 180.2 km bike ride and a 42.2 km run. Ironman 70.3 triathlons such as the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship are half the full Ironman distance with a 1.9km swim; 90 .1km bike ride and 21.1km run.
The inaugural 2010 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, with a 50-strong professional field, was won by American Tim O’Donnell and Caroline Steffen of Switzerland, both expected to return to Phuket in December to defend their titles.